His Royal Highness, Prince Michael of Kent, was given an insight into the work of the Mona Geoinformatics Institute (MGI) in Jamaica’s national road safety programme, when he visited the University of the West Indies (UWI) based institution, on April 16.
The visit formed part of the itinerary for the Prince’s five-day working visit to the island, from April 15 to 19, as special guest of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC).
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During a brief roundtable discussion and presentation, MGI Director, Dr. Parris Lyew-Ayee, informed the Prince that the institute, which conducts wide ranging research, was tasked to undertake a road safety analysis for Jamaica.
He said the MGI has been able to generate data with accompanying imagery on some 74,000 motor vehicle accidents which have occurred since January 1, 2000.
“We really want to provide evidence-based intervention. We are going to use data, (and) we are going to use facts, to help drive and inform policies. We have researchers (at the UWI) doing many different things that can be brought to bear on addressing very specific issues related to the development of national objectives and policies. Here at the institute, we already work very closely with the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) and National Works Agency,” he said.
Dr. Lyew-Ayee said the data generated will facilitate the identification of challenges arising along roadways prone to frequent accidents; better inform the police of the points where they can enhance their vigilance, thereby reducing poor road usage by motorists and pedestrians and, ultimately accidents and fatalities; and enhance public awareness and education.
“Here, at the University, we hope to set up a regional road safety centre that will look at data analysis, policy development, and bring our research capacity to bear (on reducing road accidents and fatalities),” he added.
Director of Road Safety at the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Foundation, Adrian Walsh, who is part of the Prince’s party, commended the work of the MGI.
“I think this is really fantastic. This compares with any country in the world in terms of the quality of the data,” Mr. Walsh said.
The Prince and members of his party were then taken on a tour of the MGI’s facilities, before departing the UWI.
The Prince is the Royal Patron for the Commission for Global Road Safety and Patron of the non-profit organisation, Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). Both organizations have been leading advocates in the fight to reduce road traffic injuries and deaths.
He is also Patron for the Institute of the Motor Industry, as well as founder and patron of the Prince Michael Road Safety Award Scheme. Additionally, he is President of the Institute of Road Safety Officers and is an Honorary Fellow at the Institute of Highways and Transportation.
The Prince, who arrived in the island on April 15, is on a five-day visit as the special guest of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Prince Michael will depart the island on Friday, April 19.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter